Manu Gandas regains lead with third round of 67
Manu Gandas of Gurugram shot a resolute five-under 67 in the penultimate round to regain the advantage at the inaugural Dream Valley Group-Vooty Masters golf championship at the Vooty Golf County at Vikarabad on Saturday.
Manu (63-68-67) now enjoys a slender one-shot lead at a total of 18-under 198 to raise hopes of winning fifth title of the season, on par with Yuvraj Singh Sandhu and also of clinching the Order of Merit lead from the latter.
Chandigarh’s Angad Cheema (65-67-67), who was overnight third, moved into second position at 17-under 199 after he too shot an equally impressive 67 on day three.
Mhow-based Om Prakash Chouhan (66-63-73), the second round leader, carded a sedate 73 on Saturday to drop down to third place at 14-under 202.
The 26-year-old Manu had a steady front-nine in round three making three birdies and a bogey. Manu’s birdies on the front-nine included a good up and down from the bunker on the fifth and a drive that found the par-4 seventh green. He drove the seventh green for the second day running.
Manu then collected four birdies and a bogey on the back-nine to move to the top. Manu picked up strokes on the 12th and 16th to score birdies on all the four par-5s. He left himself a four-footer on the 13th and drove past the green on the par-4 15th to claim his other two birdies on the back-nine. He closed the round with an 18-feet conversion for a tremendous par save on the 18th.
Manu, the top contender going into round four, said, “My driving and tee shots were the best part of my game today. I drove two par-4 greens today and took advantage of all the par-5s. I would say my iron-play was not up to the mark and I made some errors that could’ve been easily avoided.
“After an ordinary front-nine I had a far more encouraging back-nine today. It’s now about taking it one shot at a time and not looking too far ahead on the final day.”
Delhi’s Harshjeet Singh Sethie (68) and Noida’s Gaurav Pratap Singh (69) were placed tied fourth at 13-under 203.
Ajeetesh Sandhu (70), one of the top names in the field, was tied 18th at seven-under 209.
PGTI Order of Merit leader and five-time winner this season Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (73), was tied 29th at five-under 211.
Top seed Kriish Tyagi recovered from the brink of defeat to beat second seed Hanu Patel 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 in the final of the ITF grade-4 junior tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex on Saturday.
It was the second victory in as many finals over a fortnight for Kriish over Hanu, following the title triumph in Guwahati last week. Kriish had turned the match after losing the first set then also.
However, this was more dramatic, as Hanu was serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set. Even as Kriish showed tremendous fighting spirit, Hanu looked to have been unnerved by the sight of victory.
Hanu’s nervous plight was very much evident, when he dropped the second set following two double faults on the last two points. Hanu did fight to be ahead 4-3 in the decider, but Kriish played fearless and stroked fluently to win the next three games and the match.
In the girls final, Margot Phanthala of France beat top seed Sonali Patil 7-5, 6-3.
The coach of the Indian Davis Cup team Zeeshan Ali presented the trophies. Addressing the youngsters, Zeeshan a world No.2 junior in his time who was ranked a career-high 126 in the ATP circuit goaded them to take care of their fitness by eating right and doing their best to capitalise on the chances.
The results (finals):
Boys: Kriish Tyagi bt Hanu Patel (USA) 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4.
Girls: Margot Phanthala (Fra) bt Sonal Patil 7-5, 6-3.
ITF men’s tennis tournament: Niki Poonacha in fine form
Doubles champions Rithvik Bollipalli and Niki Poonacha in
Bhilai on Saturday.
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
Niki Poonacha beat Karan Singh 7-5, 7-6(0) in the semifinals of the $15,000 ITF men’s tennis tournament at the BSP Tennis Complex on Saturday.
In the final, Niki will play the top seed Vladyslav Orlov of Ukraine.
Niki partnered Rithvik Bollipalli to beat Rishabh Agarwal and Sai Karteek Reddy Ganta 7-6(7), 6-1 in the doubles final. It was the fifth doubles title in the last five weeks for Niki and Rithvik, who had won their earlier titles in Monastir, Tunisia, apart from Delhi, Indore, and Mumbai. In fact, it was the sixth doubles title in the last seven weeks for the Indian pair.
Singles (semifinals): Vladyslav Orlov (Ukr) bt Ryotaro Matsumura (Jpn) 6-1, 6-2; Niki Poonacha bt Karan Singh 7-5, 7-6(0).
Doubles (final): Rithvik Bollipalli & Niki Poonacha bt Rishab Agarwal & Sai Karteek Reddy Ganta 7-6(7), 6-1.